British academy

The King James Bible at 400: Celebration or Valediction?

Friday 4 November 2011, 11.00am - 6.00pm, followed by a drinks reception
Venue: The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1

A special British Academy event which examines the historical origins of the King James Bible four centuries ago, explores its literary and cultural influences since then and the way it has inspired writers and artists, and concludes by asking what its future prospects for survival are and what influence it might continue to have in this century and beyond.

Download programme booklet (pdf)

The Historical Context of the King James Bible
Chair: Professor Frances Young FBA
Exploring the social and theological context of the early 17th century, the rival church movements of the period, the Hampton Court Conference of 1604, the Hebrew and Greek Scholarship that went into the production of the King James Bible, and its relationship with earlier versions. Speakers:
Professor Naomi Tadmor  [audio, 22 mins]
Professor James Dunn FBA  [audio, 25 mins]
Professor Kenneth Fincham  [audio, 30 mins]

The Literary and Cultural Influence of the King James Bible
Chair: Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch FBA
Exploring the King James Bible's influence on Enlightenment thought, the various ways in which it has inspired writers, artist and musicians, including Shakespeare, Milton and Blake, and its unique place within British culture. Speakers:
Professor Jonathan Bate FBA  [audio, 26 mins]
Professor Chris Rowland  [audio, 19 mins]
The playwright David Edgar  [audio, 21 mins]

The King James Bible at 400: Celebration or Valediction?
Chair: Bettany Hughes
The speakers will consider the past, present and future of the King James Bible from theological, historical, literary and sociological perspectives and its prospects for surviving a further four centuries. Speakers:
His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams FBA, 'What should the word of God sound like?'  [audio, 23 mins]
The novelist Salley Vickers  [audio, 26 mins]
Professor David Martin FBA  [audio, 22 mins]